Fast No-Knead Wholemeal Bread Recipe

Hullo all!

This recipe is one that comes from total laziness – I couldn’t be arsed kneading and clearing up after, and I wanted to bake and then eat good bread. Dilemma, I know. Many would have sought the help of an electric mixer, but utilise the yeast themselves to develop that gluten and you’ll soon see how unnecessary a dough hook is.

Wholemeal bread can be tricky to work with in any case, but use this method to help you out a bit. And experiment with hybrids of this method and other kneading methods – find what’s best for you! To add a little extra flavour and longevity in this pitifully short prove, incorporate a little white sourdough starter if you can.

Although this recipe utilises the brilliance of a Dough Scraper, you can use your hands. But buy a Dough Scraper tomorrow.
Recipe (I am using double this in pictures):

300g Strong Wholemeal Flour

200g Strong White Flour

10g salt

7g sachet dried instant yeast

350g water

a good slug of sourdough starter (optional)


1: Rub dry ingredients together, keeping salt and yeast separate


2: Add water and starter, then use your dough scraper to combine into a loose dough


3: Once combined, use your scraper to pull the dough from the edge of the bowl into the middle, as shown. You should then work your way around the bowl several times, maybe 15-20 scrapes:



4: Rest the dough, covered, for 30 minutes.

5: Repeat step 3, knocking the air out of the dough and returning it to its original size as you do so.

6: Rest the dough for a further 30 minutes, then repeat step 3 one last time. This time, you may recognise the character of a properly kneaded and rested dough, with it coming smoothly away from the side of the bowl and holding its shape well.


7. Rest the dough a final 40-50 minutes, then shape, ready for its final prove (I’m utilising the power of the chopping board as a proving surface/peel in this step. Preheat baking stop 240 degrees at this step.


8. Prove until done (springs back when poked), about 50 minutes to 1 hour by this stage.

9.. Score and bake with steam at 210 or so for about 40 minutes or until your desired brownness. I screwed up here with some overzealous scoring, but hey! I have bread, I didn’t do any kneading, it took less than 3 and a half hours. DONE.



  1. Would you reccomend puttin in a tin for final prove if tinning it or just letting it prove free and naturally, at if it were a west coast bread in 60s America?

  2. I’ve been working on wholemeal and 100% wholemeal and I’ve noticed that ordinary supermarket wholemeal rises so much better than organic locally sourced etc etc wholemeal flour. I’ve used Maud Foster bread flour and with no kneading it tends to brick, and with kneading not much more. Are there some extra additives in the supermarket flour? I like the idea of working the bread with technique rather than resorting to ‘cheat’ ingredients! I have your book and have followed your advice on 100% WM, Any thoughts on what else could be done to get the maud foster flour to behave better?

  3. I use this recipe ALL the time after buying james’s book. I used to love kneading. Read but sadly it now aggravates the arthritis in my thumbs (bag arthritis at 46 – rubbish!). Anyway, I’ve never had a bad loaf using this method. It does help to understand dough though as sometimes I’ve had to leave it longer depending on the temperature and any drafts in the house.

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